2013 has shown a real change in attitudes towards women. A change, though, which is still in the minority. Nonetheless, all progress is fucking fantastic, so I’ve made a list of all the moments that I witnessed and enjoyed. This is no order whatsoever, by the way, for those who like to comment on celebrity and political comparisons.
1) Wendy Davis filibuster
In June 2013 a bill was to pass stating that abortions after 20 weeks will be banned (including a few other statements). A group of middle-aged men were making decision for young women, again, and this year we showed that we had had enough. Wendy Davis, a Democratic politician and lawyer stood up and did something to show the world that we weren’t happy. She held an 11 hour-long filibuster to block the bill (Senate Bill 5). She held the floor until the Senate session ended, causing their decision to pass the overrun allotted time. A vote was taken nonetheless, and passed but as it was after midnight, was stated as VOID. Wendy Davis, stood up, spoke and didn’t sit down. She did it for all women and it was perfect. We cheered at the Capitol, we watched on social media platforms and we basked in the doors Wendy opened for us.
2) Tina Fey & Amy Poehler.
I’ve always loved these girls, but I feel they really made a statement in the public eye this year. Tina and Amy aren’t your typical female celebrity – in terms of the way they are marketed. For one, they are hilarious, and they put humor into every ounce of their work. In a world where when you ask people who their favorite comedians are, they will list out 10 men but Tina and Amy have fired their way up to most people’s top 5 this year. They both are in the constant battle for acknowledgement in a male dominated field, yet worry more about making statements about what girls look up to in regards to the perfect woman. They aren’t the sculpted, oiled and bikini clad women in our magazines, they are the ones that look like your friend in the pub, or your auntie back home. They are the women girls should be looking up to and wanting to become. Pull down your Angelina Jolie posters and slap up one of Tina and Amy, laughing comfortably and loudly.
3) Mallika Sherawat on women in India.
I’m sure we’re all aware of the headlines that hit the world when India’s gang rape culture was revealed. A young girl was killed when raped on a bus at night in Delhi. This awful news hit the world, but India sat back and said ‘Of course, but this happens all the time’. Since then, the adverse sexual conditions women face in India have been common knowledge, causing more to speak up. One Bollywood star Mallika received a backlash of abuse from India when in a Vanity Fair interview she apparently claimed that India was ‘regressive and depressing’. A reporter asked her at an event why she would want to find love in India if she thought this was true. What came to follow was nothing more than perfect. ‘Do your homework’, she angrily snapped back ‘With female feticide, infanticide happening on an almost daily basis; with gang rapes making the headlines of almost every newspaper; with honour killings… I think it’s a very, very regressive state for women…and I stand by it!’.
4) Malala Yousafzai isn’t scared off.
It’s safe to say that this young girl isn’t the only one to who wants her voice heard, but she is one who managed to make it happen. In 2009 at the age of 11, she wrote an anonymous blog about her life under Taliban rule, and the education system in Pakistan. In 2012, an assassination attempt was made and she was shot in the head and neck. She survived and continued her battle against the oppressive education system in Pakistan and did not once sit down and shut up. Guns don’t scare this one. Gordon Brown has since aligned with Malala to launch a petition to have all children in school by 2015.
5) Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Elizabeth Warren came into office as the US Senator of Massachusetts in Nov 2012 – the first woman ever to win. It was in 2013 when she started speaking up about all the wrongs she can see happening around her – she was frank and in all honestly looked as pissed as we did. She was ignored and put down until she began questioning the obvious rich and poor divide. ‘If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail… But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night’. She didn’t stop there: her first bill was ‘the Bank of Student Loans Fairness Act’, which stated that students should get the same amount that banks pay to borrow from the government. She fights and yells until she gets heard, and she has finally began to be heard.
6) Women in combat – Pentagon
Only in 2013, Pentagon finally lifted their ban on women on the front lines of combat. The ban was for women to be unable to apply for any direct combat related jobs within the armed forces. This will open 237,000 positions for women, all of which they have the ability to perform, but were merely held back due to backwards inequality. Talks have now begun on gender-neutral performance standards, making it still unclear on whether they will be lowered, or remain the same. Discussions have also begun on positioning of troops – simple tasks as unloading heavy ammunition may be left solely to people with ‘upper body strength’. The fight, quite literally, goes on.
7) Orange Is The New Black
A new show began on Netflix which everyone raved about this year. Titties! There are titties. Great, I thought, I can just look in the mirror, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that this show stars the first ever black trans-gender actor in a leading role (Laverne Cox), in a show with the main cast of 8 or more complex female characters. Laverne has a long list of ‘first ever trans woman of colour’ awards on many blogs and news sites, if you wish to laugh at the amount of people too scared to say ‘black’ and ‘trans’ in the same sentence in case they get arrested.
8) Jennifer Lawrence
A young, beautiful Hollywood actress, surrounded by cameras, stylists and interviewers suddenly sounds like you when you’ve had your forth glass of wine on a Sunday night. How do you react, other than to sit up and listen? Jennifer is a bit mad, in the sense that she talks and talks, unaware of the fact that cameras are on her – in fact she seems to have a few personality disorders. More importantly, she refuses to play by Hollywood’s rules. She is considered a ‘fat actress’, even though she is a size 10 – a size most women try to achieve through dieting, exercise and self hate. If young girls are going to watch American feature films, they should watch ones starring Jennifer Lawrence, and then they should watch her interviews. Maybe then kids will finally realise we aren’t different from ‘celebrities’.
9) DOMA & Proposition 8
As well as the ban to gay marriage, the federal benefits that are allocated specifically to same sex marriages were also argued. So in 2013, DOMA (the Defence of Marriage Act), which states that those married into same sex marriages are not legible for benefits, was lifted. Proposition 8 was also declared invalid, which now means gay couples can marry within the state of California. This breakthrough in the world of LGBT now means that people who are in love and happen to be same-sex couples, are now allowed the simple things in life that those of the opposite sex already have.
10) The Robin Thicke parody
Robin Thicke released a song, which can only be described as a long sigh of ejaculation while day-dreaming about rape. Instead of sighing and banging our heads against a wall, a group of feminists retaliated by re-doing his music video. His video, for a song called ‘Blurred Lines’ (which is so fucking fabulously stupid, it makes me want to do society a favour and chain him to a radiator with only a saw and a dead body to stare at), starred a plethora of near-naked women. Another version of this video had the women fully naked. These women were grinding against Robin, who, I’m not going to lie, looks like that guy in Greece who tried it on with my mum by throwing alcohol at her tits. The comeback was fantastic. It turned the roles around – a woman played Robin and men played the scantily clad ‘dancers’. Let’s get this right – just because you’re a man Robin, doesn’t mean you have control.